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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Wells Central School District – Financial Condition Management (2017M-70)

Released: July 21, 2017 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether District officials effectively managed general fund balance for the period July 1, 2013 through November 30, 2016.


The Wells Central School District is located in the Towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant, Hope and Wells in Hamilton County. The District, which has approximately 150 students, is governed by a Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year totaled approximately $5.7 million.

Key Findings

  • The District’s adopted budgets were unrealistic and included appropriated fund balance not used as planned to fund operations. The budgets overestimated appropriations by almost $1.2 million or 7.7 percent from 2013-14 through 2015-16.
  • Unrestricted fund balance increased to almost $854,000 or 15 percent of the ensuing year's budgeted appropriations, exceeding the statutory limit by 11.1 percentage points as of June 30, 2016.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt realistic annual budgets based on historical trends or other known trends and use appropriated fund balance to fund operations.
  • Use surplus funds as a financing source to fund one-time expenditures and needed reserves or reduce District property taxes.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236